Tuesday, September 20, 2005

GMT 900 Revealed

NOTE: We're currently having photo hosting trouble, so bear with us. More photos will be added as soon as possible.

GMT 900 Headlamp
GM finally pulled the wraps off the all-new Tahoe, the first production variant of the GMT 900 platform, just this very morning.

There's a lot here, so keep reading after the jump.

2007 Chevrolet Tahoe
Those who had previously seen taboo spy photography will not be surprised, but from the exterior, the Tahoe appears to be a nice blend between old and new. While changed, the roofline and overall profile are reminiscant of the previous GMT 800 utilities, but the front fascia takes much from the Cheyenne concept of 2003.

And yes, it does look a bit like the 2006 Trailblazer.

2007 Tahoe

The rear quarters show the Tahoe to have a square-like overall profile, similar to that of it's segment competitor, the Ford Expedition. In a neat styling move, the receiver hitch has been surrounded by the entire bumper fascia, which helps give the rear end a clean, sophisticated look.

Perhaps the biggest question related to styling is related to the Tahoe's interior. And while nothing absolutely revolutionary has been performed in terms of its physical layout, there is much to make note of.

Gone is the dreary, semi-wrap around truck dashboard of old, and in it's place, a two-toned flowing instrument panel. The LTZ model featured in press photography sports silver dashboard trim, which contrasts nicely to the wood applique on the center stack.

Tahoe IP

Control layouts have been significantly revised. The transfer case controls are now commanded by a chrome-edged rotary knob on the left-hand side of the IP; located adjacent to lighting controls. Steering wheel mounted pushbuttons remain, but their functions have been changed. Buttons on the left-hand side are all related to cruise control functions, and those on the right-hand side are relevant to audio and Onstar systems. Buttons for the vehicle display center have been moved to the dashboard, just to the right-hand side of the instrument cluster.

The center stack, very similar in style to that of the new Impala, houses the significantly revised audio and HVAC system controls. The LTZ shown here does have a navigation system, but the DVD logo on the unit, along with the Dolby Digital trademark, indicates to me that it may finally play movie DVDs in park, a feat prior GM navigation systems could not handle. Additionally, a second slot allows the playback of a music CD, while retaining the navigational DVD in a hideaway, second slot. Thankfully, the navigation screen is much larger, with simplified buttons on either side of the display. And for the iPod generation, an auxiliary music input jack is included at the top.

In another neat move, GM's made Rear Seat Audio (RSA) standard on all models. And in a move that surprises me, they've improved it. RSA now allows the both zones to listen to the same source, but on different frequencies. Previously, if the both zones listened to say, FM, they'd have to listen to the exact same channel. No longer is this limitation imposed on rear passengers.

The HVAC design is of interest. Gone are the scroll-wheels for driver and passenger temperature selection; in their place are up/down arrows, and simplistic command controls for modes and locations. Below that lie two 12v power outlets, and an array of other commands. Of note is the button for the Microheat sourced heated wash system. This typically is something that is automatically integrated into a standard wash control.

The Tahoe still sports three row seating, but much improvement has been made to the second row - particuarly when equipped with captain's chairs. Previously moderately cumbersome to remove and/or accomoadate cargo, these bucket seats now flip and fold against the driver and passenger seats, allowing for more cargo room. Even better, these second row seats are power flip-and-fold, The 3rd row is still a removable two-piece bench.

Beauty is only skin deep, and the GMT 900 platform sports refinement down to it's bare frame rails. The Tahoe rides on a 116" wheelbase, and sits on a fully-boxed, 3-part hydroformed chassis. Compared to the GMT 800 model, this chassis is 49% tortionally stronger, and 35% stronger in terms of beaming frequency (front-to-back flexing). The vehicle capacity is 5% greater than the GMT 800 model.

Front suspension on the Tahoe is a new independant, coil-over-shock design on both 2wd and 4wd models. The rear suspension is a 5-link design, much like the previous model, but has been enhanced thanks to a stronger rear axle, and enforced shock mounts. ZW4 (smooth, premium ride) suspension is standard on all models, with the Z55 (autoride) standard on the LTZ, and the Z71 (off-road) variety will be launched on the Z71 model, starting in late 2006. Stabilitrak - to keep the vehicle straight and to avoid potential rollovers - is standard on all Tahoe trim levels.

The Tahoe body has been equipped with extensive noise reducing features, including new door seals, headliner material, and front-of-dash designs, to help reduce interior noise. Also included are a quiet-tuned alternator, and an acoustically tuned engine cover that supposedly reduces engine noise heard within.tighter body gap tolerances, makes Tahoe quieter as it slices through the air. Tahoe also sports spray-in expanding foam, which helps reduce noise by filling in space to eliminate sound paths. The majority of this foam is located within the Tahoe's A-pillars.

Vortec 5.3L V8 Gen IV
And what's all this without powertrain? GM's new Gen-IV small-block V8 family is standard on the Tahoe - in fact, the smallest engine one can get will be the 4.8L V8 in late 2006, which will be standard on 2WD Tahoes. This engine still delivers 290 hp. The 5.3 liter V8 has been thoroughly changed, and sports revised cylinder blocks, Displacement On Demand, electronic throttle control, and a returnless fuel system. Ethanol (E85) capable 5.3 units will be standard on 4wd Tahoes, and optional on 2wd models. All engines are coupled through GM's Hydra-Matic 4L60-E 4-speed overdrive automatic transmission.

Not mentioned in the press reports, but included with the press photography, is that of the new 6.2L Vortec V8, codenamed L92. No specs are currently available, but it appears as this engine will be coupled to the Hydramatic 6L80 6-speed transmission. This may be saved for high-performance SUV applications, like the GMC Yukon Denali, or the Cadillac Escalade.

We'll keep you posted on any other GMT 900 developments should they warrant.


Post a Comment